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Breakthrough to enable handheld fuel cells soon!


June 4, 2004

A new membrane has been released which will enable the manufacture of fuel cells which deliver all-day power to portable electronic devices. PolyFuel has released a breakthrough membrane specifically designed for Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) applications.

The new DMFC membrane is claimed to deliver substantial performance and system cost advantages over both traditional lithium ion batteries and existing fuel cell membrane technology.

The membrane enables fuel cells which are more efficient, able to run longer, smaller, lighter, quieter and less expensive

PolyFuel is currently supplying its DMFC membrane samples to the world's leading consumer electronics manufacturers and other developers of DMFC systems.

"Leading consumer electronics manufacturers have acknowledged that limited battery runtimes today restrict the functionality that can be built into portable devices such as laptop computers, tablet PCs, PDAs and mobile phones," said Jim Balcom, President and Chief Executive Officer of PolyFuel.

"This problem will only get worse as wireless and other capabilities are added to these devices. The next wave of portable device functionality cannot be realised without first solving the portable power crisis. The PolyFuel DMFC membrane will enable the development of portable fuel cell power systems that deliver all-day power."

Today, more than 35 companies, including many of the world's leading consumer electronics manufacturers, have launched DMFC development programs. Several of these organisations have plans to deliver commercially available fuel cell systems in the next one to three years.

Until recently, these DMFC programs have been hampered by the lack of a suitable membrane technology for the methanol fuel cell environment - the only membrane previously available to DMFC developers and consumer electronics manufacturers was a membrane developed more than four decades ago for use in hydrogen fuel cells.

DMFC developers and most consumer electronics manufacturers agree that direct methanol fuel cells are the only solution for smaller form factor devices such as laptop computers, tablet PCs, PDAs and mobile phones and have acknowledged the need for a high-performance fuel cell membrane designed specifically for direct methanol fuel cells.

The PolyFuel DMFC membrane is claimed to have a number of advantages over existing membranes: higher performance, higher fuel efficiency, lower methanol and water crossover and stability at high levels of methanol concentration.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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